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Top 50 1:1 Meeting Questions for Great Managers

Whether you are an HR leader or a line manager, you would agree that the focus on 1:1 meetings (one on one meetings) is on the rise. While collective brainstorming and collaboration is important, 1:1 meetings can help you gauge the pulse of each of your team members and ensure there is no disconnect at an individual level. 

However, do you struggle with posing the right 1:1 meeting questions to make them more meaningful? Don’t worry, we have got you covered.

In this article, we will discuss top 50 1:1 meeting questions to ensure maximum effectiveness, and a few best practices to promote authentic responses. 

But before we share the questions, let’s have a look at why having a structure and the right questions for your 1:1 meetings is absolutely crucial for your team’s performance.

Why do 1:1 meetings matter?

You can leverage 1:1 meeting questions to ensure an effective dialogue with your team members, especially the ones who may not be comfortable in speaking out in large groups. If done well, 1:1 meetings can help you:

1. Identify and address challenges proactively

If you share the right 1:1 meeting questions, you can encourage your team members to share any challenges they may be facing. Regular 1:1 meetings can ensure that such challenges are communicated and addressed in time to facilitate employee satisfaction and better results. 

2. Align professional and organizational goals

The right 1:1 meeting questions can be an effective way to align the goals of your team members with those of the organization. Take this as an opportunity to see where your team members see themselves in a few years and how it aligns with what the organization seeks to achieve. 

3. Build authentic relationships

Leverage 1:1 meetings to know more about your team members, beyond what they do at work. Connect with them on a deeper level to build an authentic relationship to augment greater levels of trust, confidence and credibility. This can help promote greater retention within the organization. 

4. Provide personalized feedback

Finally, 1:1 meeting questions can help provide personalized feedback to your team members that you may not want to share in a large group. You can take this opportunity to offer specific inputs and also learn from employees on what may be impacting their performance and seek reverse feedback as well. 

If you want to know more about how to take your 1:1 meetings to the next level, here’s a detailed 1:1 meeting guide for you.  

Top 50 1:1 meeting questions 

To leverage the benefits mentioned above, you can use the following 1:1 meeting questions to address the core issues. These questions can help you make the most out of your meeting to ensure that you don’t waste the time for either of you and are able to make a meaningful impact.

Warming up

These questions can help you set the context and serve as an ice breaker. Before directly starting the conversation, ask these questions to create a comfortable atmosphere for your meeting and help your team members relax.

  1. How are you doing?
  2. How has the week/ month been going?
  3. How should we start this conversation?
  4. Are there any specific things you would like to share?
  5. Is there anything you need support on?

Engagement and satisfaction

These questions are designed to help you gauge the level of engagement of your team members at work. They measure the level of motivation and commitment towards their work and can help you anticipate the flow for your 1:1 meeting.

  1. Do you feel connected with your team members?
  2. What is your favorite part of your job?
  3. Do you feel inspired about your work? What inspires you the most?
  4. What keeps you engaged at work?
  5. How do you think we can improve the engagement quotient at work?

Goals and objectives

The 1:1 meeting questions on goals and objectives are extremely important to help you understand the career trajectory of the person in the longer run and its alignment with organizational goals.

  1. What are some of the top goals and objectives you are working towards?
  2. Do you agree that there is an alignment between your professional goals and company objectives?
  3. Let’s discuss some of your previous objectives.
  4. How do you plan to achieve the objectives you have set?
  5. What can we do to improve as a team?

Team and Manager improvement

The next 1:1 meeting questions focus more on facilitating improvement and betterment as a team. They can help you gauge authentic feedback from your employees at a 1:1 level to understand how to make things better for them to reduce voluntary turnover and promote growth.

  1. Do you think communication between you and me is clear and easy to understand?
  2. What can I do to support you better?
  3. Are there any roadblocks I can help remove?
  4. Do you get enough support from the team members?
  5. How should I share feedback to make it most effective?

Health and wellbeing

These 1:1 conversation questions are extremely critical to ensure the creation of a healthy workplace. You can use these to gauge if your employees are happy with the work-life balance and are able to manage their health and wellness or not. These questions will help you understand what role you can play to create a healthier workforce.

  1. Are you stressed out at work?
  2. Are you able to disconnect from work after work hours?
  3. How easily are you able to take time off when needed?
  4. What part of your job is most stressful?
  5. How often do you need to take medical leave due to work burden?

Collaboration and communication

1:1 meetings are ideal for you to understand any collaboration and communication challenges your team members might be facing. It can also help you gauge insights on how well the team is communicating and any unique challenges they are facing at an individual level. 

  1. Do you feel comfortable and confident working with your team?
  2. Are you able to understand the goals and tasks assigned to you?
  3. Do you find it easy to collaborate with others in the company?
  4. Are you comfortable giving and taking feedback from others?
  5. Do you believe that our team is communicating well and enough?

Performance and productivity

Performance and productivity are extremely crucial to an organization’s bottom line. 1:1 meeting questions around this theme can help you reflect on the performance and contribution of each employee, not only from a macro lens, but also facilitate self reflection.

  1. Are you clear about what is expected from you?
  2. How do you think you can improve your performance?
  3. How do you keep yourself accountable to the deadlines and goals?
  4. Have you seen your performance improve over the past month/year?
  5. What specific training or resources do you think can help you improve your performance?

Professional development plans

1:1 meetings are a great opportunity for you to connect with your team members on how they seek to develop professionally. Since each professional is unique, these questions during 1:1 meetings can be highly effective to gauge individual development plans.

  1. What are the areas you wish to develop professionally?
  2. What are some skills you would like to hone?
  3. Would you benefit from mentoring and coaching?
  4. What are the obstacles in the way of your development?
  5. What is your action plan to reach your development goals?

Job alignment

Each employee comes with diverse skill sets and responsibilities. Therefore, you can leverage these 1:1 meeting questions to understand if their skills and aspirations align with what they are expected to do and address any challenges that may occur.

  1. What do you wish you could do more of in your job?
  2. What are some necessary skills for your role?
  3. Do you think your current role aligns well with your professional goals and personal values?
  4. What are some of your strengths that you would like to utilize more in your current role?
  5. What excites you most about what you do?

Work progress and support needed

Finally, 1:1 meetings must focus on what the progress has been and if there are any roadblocks on the way. These questions can help you map how well your team is accomplishing what is expected and where you can support them more, individually. 

  1. How are you progressing in your current role?
  2. Are you clear on your responsibilities and expectations?
  3. How will you evaluate your performance on the current tasks?
  4. How do you ensure all your tasks are completed on time?
  5. What support can help you finish your work more efficiently?

How to ensure authentic answers?

Armed with these questions for your 1:1 meetings, you can drive your conversation towards success. However, it is important to create the right environment and set up to ensure the answers are authentic and genuine. You wouldn’t want made up and rehearsed answers for the sake of better ratings and performance reviews. 

1. Keep the questions short and clear

Make sure your questions are easy to understand. Do not combine too many questions at once. Ask one question at a time and give the employee enough time to think and respond. You may want to set an agenda for every meeting, create appropriate 1:1 meeting questions and focus on a particular theme, like development goals or performance review. 

Learn more about effective 1:1 meetings here. 

2. Create a judgement free atmosphere

Encourage your employees to speak their mind and not be worried about being judged for what they say. Respect their opinion and do not interrupt. Also, provide assurance during your 1:1 questions that their responses will not form the basis for reviews and ratings. 

If you want your team members to share their challenges and aspirations, you need to build that trust and comfort where they don’t hesitate or feel apprehensive. 

3. Have follow up questions

Truly listen to what your employees have to say and follow up the answers with some more questions. You should focus on going to the depth of any topic and make conversation with every answer. However, make sure your follow up questions don’t get intimidating. 

4. Don’t push your point of view

Don’t push your views or opinions on what the employee has to say. You may have differing opinions on how they have performed or what development should look like. However, don’t expect them to follow what you believe is right. 

Share it as an option they can pursue. Being too aggressive in sharing your point of view can discourage your team members from speaking their mind in the future. 

5. Help create a plan of action

Finally, guide and mentor your team members to create a plan of action and the next steps to follow up after the 1:1 meeting. Your meeting shouldn’t follow the approach of out of sight and out of mind. Always have a list of things that should be done to augment the effectiveness of the meeting. 

It is also a good idea to check-in on the progress from time to time and take a download about the previous meeting when starting the next one. 

Final Thoughts

These 1:1 meeting questions and practices can help you take the first step towards conducting effective personal meetings with your team members. However, with the dynamic and fast changing employee expectations and experiences, it is important to continually reinvent yourself and stay ahead of the change. 

In such a situation, tools like SupeBeings can help you gain that competitive edge to drive performance and retention by providing you with templates and data-driven action points for your 1:1 meetings. It also helps you keep a track of your conversations by maintaining a history of all your 1:1 meetings in one place. 

Finally, with or without a tool, as a manager, don’t ignore 1:1 meetings because you have other important tasks to do. Even a quick 20 minute weekly check-in done right can help you drive engagement, build a high-performance team, and turn you into a leader your employees can trust.

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